What’s in my backpack?


I guess it’s kind of a popular thing right now for blogger/vloggers/whoever to talk about what’s in their bag.  I watched a doctor who maintains a popular blog and Instragram account that I follow do a video of what’s in her bag and I really liked it.  So I’m going to share with you what’s in my backpack!

Most days, I leave my room in the morning and don’t return until the evening or night.  Although it’s at most a 5 minute walk from anywhere on campus to my room, I don’t usually make the trip back during the day.  Between classes and work, I’m usually going right from one place to the next, so I like to have everything I need for the day with me in my backpack.

Laptop + case + charger (picture)

There are lots of places on campus where you can use a computer.  Sometimes though, it’s nice to know that I can use my laptop no matter where I am.  Plus my files that aren’t on Google Drive are on my laptop, and all of my favorite sites are bookmarked in my browser.



Big spiral notebook

I buy big notebooks with dividers so that I can keep all of my notes in one place and not have to use different notebooks for different classes.  It’s easier for me to keep track of that way!


When a professor assigns homework or tells us when an upcoming exam will be, I can pull out the planner that Bethel gave everyone at the start of the school year to write it down.  I forget things if I don’t put them in my planner or in my phone!

Pens + pencils + highlighters

I’ve got all kinds of colored pens.  I’ve heard that color helps with memorization, and I’ve seen this to be true for me.  So sometimes I take notes or make study guides in color to help me remember the material and also just make it more fun to look at.

Sticky notes

Flash drive

Chapstick (picture)

Hand lotion

Hand sanitizer


My online homework requires an audio portion, so I need earbuds for that.  Sometimes picking a good study music playlist on Spotify and earbuds is the best way to hit the books, too.

Tea bags

So I can have my favorite cup of tea while I’m studying in the library!


For when a stress/caffeine withdrawal headache hits 🙁

Double-walled cup (picture)

So I have something to put my tea or coffee in.  Oh and water (although I don’t drink nearly enough!)

Things I’m Involved in and Why I Love Them

Everyone is different, but for me, being busy means feeling happy and like I’m making a difference.  I did not learn this until I got to college.  I don’t mean that being super stressed out all the time is what brings me joy, because it certainly doesn’t.  However, doing things — be it activities or work — that benefits others as well as myself gives me a feeling of satisfaction and purpose.

Getting involved in college can help you meet people — friends, mentors, etc.  Campus involvement can also build up your resume, earn your some extra cash, and also just be really fun!

Of course, the amount of involvement and how it correlates to one’s happiness varies from person to person.  Here’s just a list of what I’m involved in, why I do it, and how you can get involved if you’re interested.  

There is a lot more to Bethel than just the things I’m involved in though, so I’ve provided a link that can help you find out what all Bethel has to offer you.  Whether your interests are in theater, math, board games, or anything and everything in between, Bethel’s got something you’ll love.

Student Government Association.  

Once I got to college, I decided that I was going to get involved.  This was one of the best decisions of my life.  I had heard about this thing called Student Senate (now called SGA), and found out that elections were coming up, so I decided to run.  I got elected as a Freshman Senator and immediately loved the atmosphere of the meetings and loved the work that this group was doing that I got to be a part of.  I just got elected as the Vice-President of the Study Body, and I can’t wait to start on my work in my new role.  I, along with the other members of SGA, get to be a direct part of making changes that students want to see at Bethel College, and that to me, is so cool.  We get to meet with Administration and lots of other important and amazing people at the college, as well as work with our other SGA members and peers who we can learn so much from.

Plus, being on SGA is a great way to gain leadership experience.  It’s not only a resume booster, but it’s also an opportunity that you can gain experiences from that will last you a lifetime.  

If you’re interested in being a part of SGA, check out our website.  You can also chat with current SGA members to find out what SGA is like and what we do.


A.k.a. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.  This is a scholarship that people who are interested in STEM fields receive from Bethel.  However, it’s so much more than just a scholarship!  If you get the scholarship, you get to be involved in undergraduate research through the STEM Learning Community, which is something that not a lot of larger universities can offer to many students.  STEM Learning Community students get to work directly with seniors on their Senior Seminars, as well as create posters for the projects.  These experiences are crucial to learning research techniques as well as how to present scientific findings.  Being in this community also means having great opportunities to form close relationships with professors, which can turn into even more opportunities.

If you’re interested in learning more about STEM, talk to any of the professors in the science department.  

Even if you’re not interested in a STEM field, check out what other departments have to offer students as far as scholarships and extracurricular activities.  A lot of departments have opportunities for participation outside of the normal class schedule.


A.k.a Student Alumni Association.  SAA is a large organization on campus that is involved with all kinds of events ranging from Fall Fest to the Annual Alumni Phonathon to the Mudslam Volleyball Tournament in May.  Through SAA, there are tons of opportunities to give back to the Bethel community, meet and connect with alumni, serve in leadership positions, and even make some money calling alumni!

Professors and coaches nominate students for SAA.  There are lots of people involved in SAA, so if a professor or coach sees that you would be a good fit for the group, then you might just get nominated.

Collegiate Athletics

I’ve dedicated a whole post to this one before.  Being a college athlete, no matter the sport, can offer you a wealth of opportunities.  From learning time management, to helping you stay in shape, to allowing you to meet more people, athletics does it all and more.  I run cross country, and I owe it to the sport for helping me make friends and get involved at Bethel.  

If you’re interested in playing a sport, talk to the coach of that sport or people already on the team.


This is something that is so valuable that is usually done on your own time, outside of the classroom.  Shadowing has been so beneficial for me, because it helps me see what it’s really like to be a doctor and what the dynamic is like inside of a hospital.  No matter what field you’re interested in going into, following someone around who has the job you want can teach you a lot more than just doing a Google search of your future career.

Bethel also offers a grant to students who are willing to sacrifice the time that they could be working and making money to doing an unpaid internship/shadowing position.  

If you’re interested in learning more about the grant, talk to your advisor.  You can also ask them about connections that they might have with alumni or businesses that would love to have a Bethel student come shadow them.


Finally, jobs are a great way to get more involved with campus, and make money!  My on-campus jobs include my job within SGA, working both the chemistry and the biology departments, working as a library assistant, and blogging for Bethel (what I’m doing now).  Through these jobs, I have met a lot of great people and formed connections that I’m very thankful for.  I’ve also gained a lot of really valuable skills (and made money!).  

If you’re interested in getting a campus job, check out the campus jobs database here.  Also keep an eye on the emails sent out by Career Services, as they often have on-campus jobs as well as off-campus opportunities for students.  You can also talk directly to professors and other employees at Bethel to see if they could offer you a job in their department.

These are just the things that I am involved in on campus, but there are so many more opportunities out there!  Check out this list of campus organizations to find out more ways to get involved and find what works for you.  Also, if you are wanting to start your own organization, check this out.

“Tell me and I forget.  Teach me and I remember.  Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin


A View We Are Unfortunately Used To

We have all at some point been like this at 2 or 3 in the morning during Finals week.f

We have all at some point been like this at 2 or 3 in the morning during Finals week.

Finals week is officially underway and I had to post this picture studying at 3 in the morning studying for a final. This is what procrastination and wanting to get good grades looks like. I wish you all the best in your finals!

Farewell to this stressful, difficult, amazing semester

I’ve got two more finals to take before I get a well-deserved, long Christmas break from school. Part of me is dreading even starting to study for those last two finals, but part of me is telling myself to push through because Christmas break awaits on the other side.


Bethel is known for rigorous academic instruction and wow, did my classes live up to that standard. This semester has definitely been significantly harder than my last two. Organic chemistry, an upper-level biology class and a foreign language have made my life a whirlwind for the past few months. I’ve spent long hours in the library, and studied more than I thought was capable of studying. However, this semester has also been the most rewarding. All of those studies have produced some good grades and stronger relationships and connections with professors that will last years into the future.

Athletics also proved to be very challenging but very rewarding this semester. I started out cross-country season having just recently recovered from a foot injury, so I was a little nervous about how my season was going to go. Turns out, this season was my best yet. All of the mentally and physically taxing workouts were rewarded with a PR at our conference meet — the last one of the season.

Bethel has also seen many graduates go on to do amazing things with the great education and experiences they received while they were here. So keep your career, personal and life goals in mind while you’re working hard. It can really help put things in perspective 🙂

This semester has proven to be challenging, but rewarding in so many ways. I’ve also had some of the most memorable experiences with old friends and new alike. So just remember that your struggles — whether they are academic, athletic or personal — will reap benefits and rewards in some form or another.

Competing Your Way Through College

In college, I’ve learned you have to step up and work harder, because there are a lot of other hard working students here that someday may be competing you for the same job. I’ve also learned that in my personal life, it is impossible to avoid competition. I don’t play sports, so that is not where I am heading with this, but I do have other things I compete for in my daily life.

College is one big competition, well in my opinion anyway. If you’re not going to class or doing your work, then you better believe that another student is. The same student may have the same major as you or has the same interests as you, so if the two of you are ever up for the same internship, placement, practicum, etc, and they see that that student put more effort into the courses they took than you did, then that person will likely be chosen before you will.

Life, in general, is one big competition after another. Playing sports might be the biggest thing in your life that involves competition but for someone who doesn’t play sports, let me tell you, there is more than enough competition in the different areas of  life. If you think about it, we compete every day to look our best, do our best, whether that be on the field, in the classroom, or on the stage, and be our best self. So imagine the stress of trying to compete with everyone around you to feel self-confident about yourself. If you haven’t already figured out, it’s not the best feeling in the world. This world revolves around people feeling like they have to be in a constant competition where it never seems to end until there is only one winner.

Tips for handling the rest of this semester

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that this semester has really been a tough one. My classes are way harder than they were last year, extracurricular activities/jobs are taking up a significant amount of my time, and stress levels seem to be at an all-time high.

Last week, I spent almost 15 hours studying for one test! My life felt so consumed by Organic Chemistry and I got to the point where I was making horribly cheesy jokes about syn additions and Markovnikov. I’m pretty sure my friends thought I’d gone off the deep end.

I bet lots of you are feeling that way about your various studies and obligations by this point in the semester, too. We’ve got two more full weeks of class left, people! We can do this. I’ve decided to compile a list of a few tips that help me during stressful times.

  1. Do the tough stuff first. I am a huge advocate of making lists. When your day seems like it can’t be conquered because of the endless amount of things you have to do, writing down your obligations somehow makes everything seem a little more doable, and it makes the screaming/panicking voice in your head calm down a bit. Put the hardest things at the top of your to-do list and get them done early. Doing so will take the weight off of your shoulders and make you more motivated to carry on.
  2. Keep your space clean. You’ve heard it said “a cluttered desk = a cluttered mind.” I know you all probably aren’t as neat-freakish as I am, but regardless, I think we can all benefit from having a tidy place to study or relax. If you take a few minutes to pick up the clothes off your floor, organize all the stuff in your bathroom cabinets, or even just clear off your desk, it can really help relieve some stress. Cleaning/organizing my room is probably the first thing I do when I’m stressed. It helps me to feel like I’m getting things done and makes me feel better about the space I live in.
  3. Don’t overeat/under-eat. A lot of people tend to overeat or under-eat when they are stressed. Neither one is good for you and neither one will help you! Personally, I tend to under-eat when I’m stressed, which leads to irritability and lack of energy. The times that I do end up overeating though, I feel bloated and tired, because it’s usually candy or salty food that I binge on. So when you’re in the middle of cramming for your next test, be sure to snack on healthy food that will give your brain the energy to keep going. Check out this list of healthy, affordable snacks that are great for studying, and go stock up!
  4. Get away from the distractions. One of the worst places for me to get a lot of things done is in my room. There, I am tempted to take a nap, socialize and get distracted by so many things. My two favorite spots to study or get work done are Mojo’s and the library. I getting things done in Mojo’s because it’s often filled with other people who are engrossed in their work/studies. There’s something about having a hot cup of tea in that cozy environment that just makes me productive. The library is wonderful for many of the same reasons. It’s also very quiet most of the time, and there’s tons of space to find a place to dive in to your work. Many of those hours I spent last week studying for O. Chem were in the library.
  5. Dress up! I’m not saying you have to go full suit and tie, but putting on an outfit that you feel confident in can really give your brain a boost. Now that it’s getting really chilly outside, there are so many options like scarves, boots and coats to spice up your wardrobe. When I’ve got a big test or something coming up, I plan what I’m going to wear that day. One of my friends last year always wore a button-up shirt with dress pants on Anatomy and Physiology test days. He told me, “Dress well, test well.” And you know what? He got the highest score on every test in that class.

Hopefully some of these insights can help you get through this last bit of the semester. Leaning on friends and family when you’re stressed can also be a huge help, so take advantage of that.

The rest of the semester is going to be tough, but we got this!

Here’s a nice picture of a rainbow on campus to remind you that there’s hope even in the darkest times. 🙂



Seeking questions

As a student at Bethel, I have matured in a myriad of ways. Some of my developments have been obvious to all and probably met with a great deal of relief that they came about. Other changes have occurred on a much more subtle level that are less likely to be noticed except by myself and perhaps the perceptive friend or teacher.

One of these seemingly minor changes has provided a new mindset for me when approaching all aspects of life. So often I was motivated to seek the correct answer. In many classes, this is the seemingly obvious calling. You know the question, find the answer.

Since I have arrived at Bethel I have noticed that it is not always that simple. In many of my courses that I take and situations I find myself in, I have noticed that the person with the greatest grasp on the topic or situation is doing more than simply answering questions. They are asking the right questions, too.

I am grateful to Bethel has a whole, to the students and professors that have challenged me and impressed me and I am certainly grateful for the natural maturation that is bound to occur on some level between the ages of 18-21. Seeking questions is a simple way to engage an entire class or group of people. It allows for creativity, discussion and discernment to take place. Answers are important, but seeking the questions that can make one stop and think; this is something that I have gained a true appreciation for in my time at Bethel.

Until next time –


Tourin’ Italy and Beyond

On May 19, the class Renaissance Art History embarks on a journey to Italy. Myself included, there will be about 12 of us going.

The class is led by David Long, who has done this before, and is bound to be a great one. We will be visiting Venice, Padova, Florence, Rome and the Vatican, among other destinations in Italy.

After 10 days of fun in Europe the trip will conclude…BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! If you choose to stay in Europe and travel, you may!

I will have the pleasure of going to Munich, Interlaken (Switzerland) and Paris. This trip is sure to be one full of memories and new experiences. I hope to take many pictures like the one below in Florence.

Until next time America,


(I hope everyone caught the Toy Story reference in the title.)


Brooke’s Declassified Finals Survival Guide

Here is THE guide to a successful week of finals….

First off, study the heck out of the material. Seems kind of obvious, doesn’t it? Well, that’s because that is all you can do.

Second off, put off studying. Go outside and play disc golf with your friends. Choose a movie over looking at your notes. These are the time you’re going to remember, trust me (I’ve been through this for four years now).

Third off, drink TONS of coffee. It helps,  I promise.

Fourth off, counteract the coffee with lots of water. Please be sure to stay hydrated.

Fifth off, go out and binge on fast food, ice cream, soda, and all other absolutely terrible food choices.

Lastly, love the fact that you are studying or taking a study break. These are the moments that are going to be with you for the rest of your life, and they are important. Friends mean everything and you would not be surviving this hellish week without them. Enjoy the stress and bask in the glow of sleep deprivation.

Every minute of this week is glorious.

Live it. Cry a bit during it. Love it.



The Week Before Finals Week

This week is literally death for everyone involved. Why this week is so much worse than actual finals week? No one knows except the professors.

All of us students go through hell the week before finals because for some odd reason every professor decides it’s a good time to pile up the assignments due. For example, I have two papers, two exams, one presentation, and of course the usual homework all due the week before finals.

My load isn’t even that bad. Others have it way worse than I do. I have a friend who has a biochemistry exam on Friday! What is the point in that?! The students don’t get the exam back in time to study it and it just stresses them out more. It isn’t helpful.

Another thing I do not understand is why professors want to grade these things? Why in the world would someone make all of these assignments due? I know for a fact each professor has at least two classes they are teaching. So that means even more work! Professors should conduct study groups all week instead of assigning projects. This way kids actually pass their finals.

The only way to get through this week and make it to the next is by lots of coffee, lots of laughter, a little bit of crying and zero sleep.

Good luck to all of you enduring this week of stress.